All the cool kids know Hot Chip drop it like it's hot, to the extent that it's almost a bit of a cliche for non-cool accountant types to cite them as there favourite bands. BlackPlastic dislikes cliches and likes accountant types even less, yet it is with some anticipation that it approached the latest, rather orange, installment in the revered DJ Kicks series.
From the outset, as with many of the DJ Kicks albums, this is an eclectic set. Grovesnor's 'Nite Moves' kicks things off and sound exactly like the sort of thing Hot Chip would listen to, with melancholy lyrics mix wih polished electronics and stuttering rhythms.
This mix seems somewhat schizophrenic, cutting from introverted and considered electronics to summery party vibes with little notice - just take the transition from Gramme's noisy 'Like You' into the much subtler 'Persuasion' by Subway as an example. Interestingly despite the apparent juxtaposition of moods the mix works tremendously as a whole, virtually all the cuts are relatively smooth and there is a continuous laid back sunshine feel that would be absolutely perfect for a few beers in the sun if we weren't in the initial stages of a second ice age.
DJ Kicks albums always come with an exclusive from the artists themselves and Hot Chip's is no different, offering up 'My Piano', a happy little ditty about their piano. It is encouraging to know that Hot Chip are already putting the finishing touches on album number three, due later this year.
Other highlights include the always awesome 'Bizarre Love Triangle' by New Order and the frankly scary 'Doppelwhipper' by Gabriel Ananda, whose incessant bleeps and rhythms create a very modern sound scape that makes BlackPlastic wonder if epilepsy can be triggered by noise alone. Far less modern by just as much fun is Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto's 'In The Basement, Part One' - a freaky soulful wig out that sounds like the best party your folks never attended.
Lanark's 'The Stone That The Builder Rejected' is mournful and emotional, sounding like The Beach Boys reinterpreted by a machine whilst the unsettling 'Love Affair' by Nôze sounds like the inside of Patrick Bateman's head as he prepares for a date. Weird and slightly compulsive.
Hot Chip's DJ Kicks album is undeniably good fun and it feels that it only gets better as things progress. The final three tracks take the listener through a Roman Flügel mix of Audion's 'Just F******' straight (and somehow virtually seamlessly) into pop perfection in the form Joe Jackson's 'Steppin' Out' before a final, less seamless, left turn into 'Mess Around' by Ray Charles. Get freaky.
Now all we need is some sun, some beers and some partially cooked meat and we'll have a party on our hands.